Starting from the late 1950s, Soviet applied artists, architects, critics and
philosophers engaged in an ardent debate about the borders and relations
between easel, decorative and applied art, techniques, and everyday material
culture. The chapter demonstrates how this debate paved the way for
theorising industrial design under state socialism, while some of its
complexities became rapidly outdated with the institutionalisation of the
design profession by the government. The concrete form of this
institutionalisation was the All-Union Research Institute of Technical
Aesthetics, or VNIITE, staffed by different specialists, through whom the
state intended to control the totality of things and their influences on
consumers. The ‘TE’ of this institution’s acronym, ‘technical aesthetics’,
was promoted as an interdisciplinary science defining the ‘laws of artistic
activity in the sphere of technology’ (in the words of the VNIITE director
Iurii Soloviev) and optimising the production of consumer goods. Through
analysing the methodology of VNIITE at the initial stage of its operation,
the chapter addresses the contradictions of the Khrushchev-era vision of the
perfect order of things.
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In this chapter, the author, through a family history, speaks of how forced exile persists through generations. He narrates the series of events that took place after he left England and moved to United States, including the catastrophic failures of nuclear reactors. The discussion largely focuses on the incidence of cancers caused by exposure to radioactivity in England, and the impact it had on Anglo-American relations. The author also showcases the differences between English and American cultures.
In this chapter, the author discusses the cultural life in Rochester, New York, in the 1920s. The city of the 1920s is often referred to as 'Mr Eastman's town'. Economically, the first three decades of the twentieth century had been described as Rochester's golden age, and the centrality of Eastman-Kodak to the city's prosperity had important cultural consequences. The establishment by George Eastman of the Eastman School of Music and the Eastman Theatre in 1922 was the single most important event marking the 'end of provincialism'. The 'Rochester Renaissance' owed a lot to Eastman's wealth and philanthropy .
In this chapter, the author explains the internment of aliens in Britain during the Second World War. The 'internment of aliens' is a peculiar and rather hysterical measure taken by the British government after Dunkirk. The author describes his father as an alien. He is alien to Britain and to English culture. He came to Britain from Germany in February 1938, was a class C 'enemy alien' (recognised as a genuine refugee, and officially designated a 'friendly' enemy alien). The classifications were made by wartime tribunals set up in Britain in 1939.